Honey is a bona fide guilt-free indulgence, according to countless scientific studies.
This golden nectar from our beloved little friends the bees contains no fat, no cholesterol, is rich in essential vitamins and minerals and a tablespoon contains only a mere 64 calories. The health benefits of honey have been known and utilized for millennia, with references to it’s miraculous properties being recorded in Ancient Egypt, and in the Bible.
So powerful are some specific honey types, like New Zealand’s manuka honey, that hundreds of scientific studies exist that promote its benefits. While there is a serious danger involved in giving honey to infants before their digestive system is mature.
For the rest of us, there are only beneficial positives – of course as long as you remember to brush your teeth after enjoying its sweet deliciousness! Let’s review some of these benefits below.
Bacterial Infection Protection
With the tragic recent news that an American woman in Nevada died from a superbug that was found to be resistant to all currently available antibiotics, never has it been a more crucial time to look for alternative remedies that are backed by science. Even the United Nations has deemed this dire situation to be part of a global health crisis.
Science has already determined that New Zealand’s manuka honey has antibacterial properties, and bacteria, like golden staph, appears to not be able to develop a resistance to it. In fact, Professor Liz Harry of the University of Technology in Australia asserts that honey kills bacteria the very instant it makes contact with it.
Manuka honey is also made by Australian honey bees, as the same flower nectar is collected by them, which is exciting news as manuka honey production in New Zealand is more limited due to the urgent global crisis that is diminishing honey bee populations.
Anti-Aging and Cell Healing Properties
The antioxidant properties within honey are well-known in the scientific community, and scientists who published a paper in 2012, in the Global Journal of Health Science, revealed that the phenol content within honey is beneficial to strengthening our physical defenses thereby preventing oxidative stress.
This shows that honey has an anti-aging effect on our bodies, and generally prevents our cells from being damaged by “free radicals”. Scientists came to the conclusion that the benefits are so amazing, we should replace all of our sweeteners with honey.
Burns and Wound Dressing
The ancients knew that treating burns and wounds with a honey dressing was crucial to speeding up the healing process. Dr. Peter Molan and Dr. Tanya Rhodes, of the University of Waikato in New Zealand, released a study in 2015 which revealed the science behind the wisdom of our ancestors.
As a biologic wound dressing, honey creates an environment around a burn or wound that prevents it from deteriorating even further, it draws out fluid to encourage healing, suppresses inflammation and promotes healthy tissue regrowth.
Seasonal Allergies Prevention
It is considered an old wife’s tale that by consuming local honey made from local pollens you can reduce your chance of having hay fever during allergy season.
Scientists wished to follow up on this and in a placebo-controlled study on a group of people in Malaysia in 2013, researchers revealed that the people who ingested a high dose of honey daily for 8 weeks saw their allergic rhinitis symptoms decrease dramatically, and the improvements to their health were even evident a month following the trial, even after they had ceased the honey ingestion.
It is recommended that honey is used medicinally for this purpose as a preventative measure, in the months before allergy season kicks in, to experience more optimal results.
Candida (Thrush) Remedy
Candida is a serious problem not just for many women, but also it is increasing on a worrisome level within hospitals worldwide, especially as drug resistant infections are escalating.
Researcher Julie Irish, and her team of scientists at the University of Sydney in Australia investigated the power of honey against strains of candida and it was found that Jarrah honey specifically was most effective when used topically to treat candida infections.
They claim that using honey around catheter sites on patients was as effective as using mupirocin or povidone iodine. They even suggest that a honey suppository be developed to help women who suffer from vaginal thrush.
The use of honey to suppress coughing is an age old remedy that is very well known – and while honey’s anti-viral properties do require more study, the ability for honey to soothe an irritating cough have been well researched.
Even the World Health Organization recommends honey as a potentially more cost effective way to treat coughs. And also a safer alternative to regular over-the-counter pharmaceuticals that can give harmful side-effects or be misused.
A study run by the University College of London’s Medical School revealed that compared to placebo and over-the counter medicines.
The natural sweetness and antimicrobial properties of honey were superior in every way when treating coughs in children and adults.
Depression and other Mental Illnesses
Honey might be able to give you a reason to indulge in a bit of comfort eating when you are feeling a down.
Honey is high in levels of potassium and science has linked low levels of potassium to not only several serious physical health problems. But also a whole range of mental illnesses such as mood swings, depression, mental lethargy and even psychosis.
While honey will not cure mental illness, it helps to know that you can bring a little bit of this miracle working sweetness into your life that should give you a guilt-free health infused mood boost.